Thursday, March 09, 2006

GameDay: vs. LA (35-23-5, 75 Pts) 7:30 ET

Tonight is the final game between Detroit and LA this season. The Wings won the first three games: 5-2 on October 13th and November 28th, and 5-4 (OT) on November 9th. The Wings are coming off a two-game series with the Coyotes that began with a commanding 7-3 win in Phoenix on Saturday. They were unable to maintain that momentum, however, and lost to a determined Phoenix team 5-2 on Tuesday, continuing their trend of having rough nights after returning from a West Coast trip. It's trade season (until 3:00 PM ET today) but the Wings have stayed uncharacteristically quiet. They have said they would like to add a depth defenseman and perhaps another forward but it's clear that they are hampered by their payroll's proximity to the cap level. It doesn't appear likely that they will be able to make a move and I don't know that they really need to. Manny Legace will be in net tonight and will hopefully start to inspire a little more confidence. His last couple outings have been passable if not spectacular. Get in playoff shape, Manny! The Kings have won their last five, including two overtime victories. Now, that may seem impressive but one of those games was against Chicago, one was against Columbus and two were against Minnesota. All of them were one-goal victories. Their 6-5 win over Dallas February 12th, their last game before the Break, is a little different, I admit, but they haven't been beating the cream of the crop. This win-streak follows a 7-game losing streak (two OT/SO losses) from the end of January to the middle of February. They are trying to catch Dallas for first place in the Pacific division but they're 10 points back and I think it's unlikely they will. As of now they are 6th in the Conference but they could easily be anywhere from 5th to 8th come playoff time. The Kings made a fairly big trade yesterday, acquiring forward Mark Parrish and defenseman Brent Sopel from the Islanders for defenseman Denis Grebeshkov, forward Jeff Tambellini and a conditional third-round draft pick, which they lose if they make the playoffs. Parrish will have an immediate impact on the team's offense, particularly the power play. He has 24 goals this year, 13 of which came with the man-advantage. With the Wings' penalty kill having surrendered nine power play goals in four games, Parrish may have a field day tonight. Sopel, on the other hand, will miss at least a week with a "knee contusion," according to the LA Times. Mathieu Garon should be in net for the Kings. He's been their man and I see no reason not to play him. I will be attending this game with my Dad. It'll be my fourth game this season and hopefully not my last but we'll have to see about that.


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